Since the 1950s we have lost 60% of our orchards through development or neglect, and even though there are 3000 varieties of apple in England, we import 70% of those sold in shops. Despite this loss there is a growing interest in establishing community orchards – local projects run by local people, providing locally grown fruits and nuts. The Community Orchards Handbook shows groups and individuals how to start their own Community Orchard, from getting support, tackling legal issues and access to organising working parties and selling produce.
It gives suggestions on 'apple mapping' and saving local varieties and of course it gives practical advice on planting, harvesting and safeguarding your orchard. There is a comprehensive resources section and examples of successful community orchard projects across the UK.
- Provides a step-by-step guide to setting up your own community orchard
- An essential guide for communities and schools
- How to start
- Finding out more
- Planting a Community Orchard
- Adopting an old orchard
- Conserving and attracting wildlife
- What to do with the harvest
- Choosing the right legal structure
- A model constitution
- Orchard groups
- National contacts
- Nurseries and equipment
- Fruit identification
- Funding ideas and sources
Sue Clifford and Angela King are the founder-directors of Common Ground, a pioneering environmental charity playing a unique role in the arts and environmental fields. Their inspiring projects include Apple Day, Parish Maps and the Campaign for Local Distinctiveness. For more information see www.commonground.org.uk.
"This book encourages and celebrates the community spirits, social health and wellbeing that can be generated by fruit trees and orchards."
– Reforesting Scotland – Autumn/Winter 2011
"The idea of community orchards is so good, so obviously right, that I think it's fair to describe it as vital. It will bring so much benefit to so many, in such an upbeat and positive way. I can't wait to see it happen more and more widely. Congratulations to Common Ground for their inspirational leadership and whole hearted good sense."
– Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall
"Common Ground's Community Orchards Handbook is a rich and diverse eco-system in itself, at once practical and lyrical, with elegy and energy intertwined. It's a handbook to be revelled in as much as dipped into for the handy hints."
– Jonathon Porritt
"The Community Orchards Handbook sits within arm's reach of my desk, along with one or two other Common Ground publications. It is an indispensable and inspiring reference for anyone wanting to enrich the meaning of where they live and introduce biodiversity and delight into their locality."
– Kevin McCloud – presenter Grand Designs
"This wonderful book is an invaluable source of information for anyone interested in community, locally-produced food, and preserving and planting orchards. It is a 'must' for anyone who cares about these things."
– Rosie Sanders – artist and author of The Apple Book
"This book is aimed at anyone who wants to establish a local community orchard. It is an infectious well-judged mix of the inspirational and the practical. If you are thinking of setting up a local community orchard, the first thing you should do is buy this book."
– Richard Borrie – Editor of www.orangepippin.com
"Community Orchards Handbook is a delicious book. It argues that we need orchards around us not just because they reconnect us to culture, our sense of place and our history, and not just because they can boost our food security, but because they have a great potential for bringing us closer together, to form a focus point for community. A new social and cultural renaissance based on apples? Why not [...] "
– Rob Hopkins – Transition Towns Network
"We used Common Ground's Community Orchards Handbook when we started The London Orchard Project, and it has proved invaluable ever since. It is a must-have for the aspiring orchard leader."
– Carina Dunkerley & Rowena Ganguli – Founders of The London Orchard Project
"Common Ground has made thousands of people aware of the value of the local, the ordinary, the commonplace, and the everyday in their lives [...] It has renewed interest in the English apple and created a feast for it (Apple Day in October). For speaking to a part of our hearts that no one knew how to speak to before, Common Ground is the best green charity in these islands."
– Michael McCarthy – The Independent